The 154-pound sphere will be heating up, with chips falling in the near future. Jarrett Hurd will fight a title consolidation match against Erislandy Lara April 7, site TBA, and the WBO titlist Sadam Ali is starting to get ready for his next tango.
The Brooklyner shocked most of the world, the world not part of Team Ali, when he got the better of Miguel Cotto in Cotto’s adios fight in December. The WBO strap was up for grabs, and what a lovely bonus gift that was for Ali. His first defense, it looks like, will come against Brit Liam Smith, who sports a 26-1-1 mark.
What about it, Liam, you getting ready to scrap with Ali?
“Yes, that is what it is looking like, I am his mandatory challenger,” Liam said via messenger.
“Teams are in talks now and should be close to deal. I’m coming there. As if he would come here,” he messaged, tossing out a howling laughter emoji.
The Liverpudlian last gloved up in November, in a battle of Liams. He scored a majority decision win over Liam Williams. That was a sequel to their previous battle, seven months before. That faceoff ended with Williams cut too bad to continue.
Liam Smith had stepped up in class to battle Canelo Alvarez in 2016, and was stopped in round nine. The 29-year-old owns respectable power, like Ali does, and is part of maybe the fightin’-est family in the sport.
Liam is the younger brother of Paul Smith (38-7) and Stephen Smith (25-4), and older brother to Callum Smith (24-0). Against Canelo, he was susceptible to a sweeping right hand. He drew praise by showing he wasn’t phased by the immensity of the stage, and taking it to the Mexican, at times backing him up. He took a left hook to the solar plexus region which took the air out of him, though. He soldiered on, only to be felled by a left hook to the body.
He’s scrappy, as he showed with a bit of billy-goating in the first Williams fight. His peekaboo guard means that an accurate Ali could have some luck threading the needle on the Brit. Smith does like to dip left and rip left hooks, so expect Ali to try and time him and shoot counter rights. Smith is happy to work in tight, and is a volume guy, who doesn’t bother with excess movement or clinching to buy time. Mostly, he chooses to advance, be the aggressor, be first, but he’ll sometimes let the foe get off first, and react to that.
Readers, you who have seen Liam in action, what do you think of his chances versus Ali, if all the deets get ironed out as expected and this squareoff gets made?